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Litterbox Problems and Solutions by Gus Bennett

Gus Bennett By Professional Pet Sitting Etc.

Gus Bennett
By Professional Pet Sitting Etc.

Help and

Understanding

for

Litterbox

   Problems  

 

Authors, Gus Bennett and Dorinne Whynott,

Owner of Professional Pet Sitting Etc.

 

Hi, I am Gus Bennett. 

I am going to try to give you some insight into why we cats may stop using our litterbox ( of course, if you would rather learn more about cute me, click Gus Bennett).

As you read this, you may think that cats are very delicate creatures who start having problems at the slightest provocation, this really is the farthest from the truth.  The majority of cats never have a problem and live long happy healthy lives.  If you are experiencing a problem with your cat going outside the litterbox, these are some ideas that may be the problem.  We are trying to find out why your cat may be choosing to go outside of the preferred litterbox.  The hard part is the why.  If you can find the why, the solution becomes easier.

Remember, I am here to help you understand all things cat!  This is a long article and I will touch on many things. 

Here is some general feline information –

We are highly trainable…did you know that?  Many people think if we have bad habits, they have to live with it….but that is simply not true.  My Mom has taught me where I can go and where I can’t.  I am definitely not allowed on tables or counters.  We learn differently from dogs for the most part, meaning we learn with lots of routine, consistency  and praise.  We have long memories, which is good for when we were wild.  If something scared us or was life threatening, we remembered that for survival, however if we learn bad habits that memory takes a bit to re-train (Understanding Cat Behavior). So, be patient with us.  If you yell or spank us, it will only make us afraid, anxious and avoid you.  If we are constantly in fear or anxiety, bad habits form.  

Cats do not respond well to putting our noses in urine/defecation accidents around the house (uuuggghh, that is simply disgusting).  These procedures produce cats that are frightened of the reprimanding person.  Cats may become even more stressed and upset, thereby exacerbating the bathroom problem.  Even if you yell at the cat and then place the cat in the litterbox, the cat may develop an aversion to the litterbox, simply because it associates the litterbox with reprimand. 

Each cat is completely unique and different as snowflakes and people.  One cat may find a particular cat toy fun and enjoyable, while another cat may find  the same toy boring and walk away.  Can you imagine that there are some cats who do not even like Catnip??  They must be ill that is the best stuff in the world!!

Keep in mind – 

  • We already knows how to use a Litterbox
  • Cats are very clean and prefer to find a place to bury their elimination. 
  • I did not need to be taught by my feline Mom, I just know what to do. 
  • Know what is normal for us
  • If you see accidents outside the litterbox, something is wrong and we are trying to tell you something

It is the last point, I would like to discuss with you today. 

Did you know:

  • Inappropriate elimination by your cat, whether stool or urine is not an  intentional act of malice or revenge
  • Marking and inappropriate elimination by a cat is a form of communication
  • Marking can be urine, feces, cheek glands or scratching
  • Inappropriate elimination can mean that your cat is trying to tell you there is something wrong medically
  • Marking in cat speak can mean this is my area, please do not intrude
  • Marking can be a comforting scent blanket that helps soothe anxiety in a nervous cat
  • Most cats will mark their homes at some point in their lives
  • Territorial marking is a normal behavior of cats, most cats will mark around the house by rubbing our cheeks all over everything in our home, even our Mom!!
  • Both male and female cats mark
  • Both intact and neutered male and female cats mark
  • Cats are very trainable and can be taught what is acceptable or not
  • Because people do not believe the statement above, many cats are removed from their homes for inappropriate elimination without finding out what is wrong and finding an answer. Instead, they are brought to shelters, dropped off on the side of a road or euthanized

For all of our cats’ sake, it is essential to determine the underlying reason to why we are doing things and then find a happy solution. 

So lets, delve into the medicals possibilities first.

  • Bladder Issues
  • Urinary tract infection
  • Bladder crystals
  • Kidney issues
  • Diabetes
  • Hormonal Imbalances
  • Aging
  • Breeding age cats not neutered

All of these possibilities could be the reason why your cat may go to the bathroom outside the litterbox (your vet may find other possible medical issues).  This may be the only way your cat can tell you that something is wrong.  All of the above can happen to any cat at any time.  Make an appointment with your veterinarian.  I would suggest getting a physical, complete blood profile, kidney panel and a urinalysis (your vet may add on other tests, if needed). 

UTIs and Bladder Issues

Two common medical reasons for a cat to stop using the litterbox are a Urinary Tract Infection/Bladder Infection.  During these infections, small amounts of urine are excreted at short intervals.  Urination may be painful, frequent and urgent.  Cats can not always reach the litterbox in time. If they do get to the litterbox, they soon associate any pain with the litterbox. If you have ever had a bladder infection or a UTI, you can certainly sympathize.  It is not fun.

 If an infection is found, they may be treated with antibiotics.  If after treatment, the cat is still having accidents, you may determine that something else is going on or a habit has formed and may need to be addressed. 

Diabetes and Kidney Issues

Your Veterinarian can help to determine if there are other medical problems that may be occurring such as Diabetes or Kidney problems.  These problems may have other symptoms.  It is always a good idea to watch your cat for any signs of different behavior.  Knowing how much your cat is eating or not eating, water intake and how often they urinate or defecate are all important factors to help your veterinarian determine what, if anything is going on. Mood and activity, as well as if there are other symptoms you may see, can be helpful when relaying them to your veterinarian.

Hormonal Imbalance

Your vet may suggest that your cat has a hormonal imbalance.  A prescription to rectify the imbalance may improve the non use of the litterbox.  Your vet may also advise you on other drug therapies.  Ask if the drugs will have any side affects, such as lethargy, etc.  Changing habits may still need to be worked on along with drug therapy, if a habit has formed.

 Crystals

In our house, we have had three cats who were found to have crystals through a urinalysis – Ricky, Desilu and Felice.  Two of the cats do mark for other reasons, however, the problem may have started when they had crystals.  Since marking can be soothing to a cat, they continued (the rest of us, were appalled at this). Crystals form in some cats due to dehydration which results in super concentrated urine in cats who may be predisposed.  Severe symptoms can result in blockage (bladder stones can also create a blockage) which can be fatal if not treated immediately.

Senile/Aging Cat 

Also, talk to your vet about the “Senile Cat“.  These are cats that have a long history of being extremely clean cats but with aging and the physiological body changes that may go with that aging, may lead to loss of bladder control and/or loss of bowel control.  This does not happen with all aging cats.  If it does happen, little can be done.  Just as it happens in humans, we need to understand that the cat has little to no control over this aging process.  We need to prevent damage and make the cat as comfortable as possible in his/her old age.  The cat is usually as upset as you are. 

When you can not supervise, You can place the cat in a confined area, such as a bathroom, where it is easy to clean, with a litterbox, and make the cat comfortable with food, water and a bed.  Another age consideration, if your cat is getting old, may be they are having a hard time getting to the litterbox that is all the way upstairs or all the way downstairs.  Maybe placing the litterbox in an easier place for the old cat is all that is needed. Make sure to give your “old cat” lots of love and attention and do not let them spend too much time alone.

Intact Male or Female

Another possibility, is a cat that is not neutered. Intact males and females instinctually mark their territories to tell other cats to stay out, this is my area.  Hormones released in the urine also tell other cats, they aready to mate.

All pets that are not being shown in breed shows for breeding should be neutered (more information on Neutering).  Neutering cuts down on the immense over population resulting in many innocent pets being euthanized every day.  Neutering also lessens the chances of medical problems that may arise later in life (cancer of the uterus, ovaries, prostate and testicles).  Also, a pregnant queen may develop life threatening pyometria.  Neutering can also help with many behavioral problems (seeking other intact mates, fighting, etc.), including the problem of spraying in both male and female cats.

 

Health Problems Found 

If it comes back that your cat has any of the above.  Your vet will give you appropriate help to get your cat back to healthy.  Once back to healthy, also consider diet and water intake in another blog article, I wrote, Feeding Cats by Gus Bennett.  Many of the  above health issues in many cats (not all, kidney disease progresses for example)  can be lessened or eliminated with a diet of moist/raw food and extra water intake.

Healthy Pet, Behavior Issue

If the tests come back your cat is healthy, then we are looking at a possible behavior issue. 

So, what are some reasons why we cats may stop using our beloved litterbox

  • Dirty litterbox
  • Box too small
  • Covered litterbox
  • Litterbox location too busy
  • Litterbox location too noisy
  • Litter is not to our liking (too smelly, too rough on our feet, etc.)
  • The other cat won’t let me use the litterbox
  • Not enough litter boxes
  • I couldn’t make it down two flights of stairs in time
  • I got scared one time while in my box
  • being bullied by another cat or dog causing fear/anxiety
  • misteatment by kids or adults causing fear/anxiety
  • My litterbox is too close to my food and water
  • Any Negative Association to the litterbox will make even the most fastidious cat change

Please read my blog article, Litter Box Tips by Gus Bennett  to further understand the above.  

 Here are a few more reasons 

  • There are cats marking our house outside and I need to let them know this is my area inside

If your cat is seeing and smelling other cats outside.  They may become very anxious and feel the need to let those outside cats know this area is all theirs.  You may see urine around doors and windows inside from your cats and outside from the neighbors cats (yes, most neighbors are not happy with your pets in their yard).  You may need to use cat repellants outside around your home (never, ever place any poison or anything harmful to an animal).  There is a product called The Contech Scarecrow.  You hook it up to your hose and it has a motion sensor, once it detects motion it will spray water!!!  Careful, you may forget it is on!  This is very scary to a cat ( or dogs, bears, deer, other humans!).  After a few times, most cats will probably stay away.  My Mom has actually gone out and clapped her hands and yelled and used a squirt bottle of water to scare cats out of our yard.  She looks pretty funny but it did worked (worked with the bears as well, yes, I said bears….she used banging pots and pans for them).  We really should catch my Mom doing this on video!!

  •  Cats love routine and hate change

My Mom is like that, too.  However, she is a believer in Desensitization (more about this below) , so she does change things up.  Like the time we eat.  We never bother her first thing in the morning because she never feeds us first thing.  She has her coffee, etc.  We get fed around 9am mostly, but it could be 8am, 11am.  We just wait until we see her get out our food dishes.  Why does she do this, well one is, she never wanted us cats, in her face at 4am in the morning waking her up, but the other is that she believes that whenever the routine is changed on an animal that never has the routine changed, it causes stress.  So, we are used to whenever. 

  • Upset or Change. 

If you have had a change in the house, a cat will show it is stressed to you, by not using the litterbox.  Not all cats react to change by not using the litterbox, but some do.  Check to see if change could be a factor in your cat’s behavior.

  • An upset/trauma to a cat could be….. 

An upset to a cat could be going to the veterinarian, surgery, a new schedule (new times going to work, coming home, new feeding times, etc.), moving food dishes, moving the litterbox, moving furniture, moving to a new home, owners go on vacation, a baby arrives, a new person moves in (sometimes cats will go to the bathroom on an item that is owned by a new person, marking that item as their own, this makes the cat feel better, especially if that person does not like the cat), a person leaves the home, a new pet arrives (This could be a dog, a cat or any other pet.  Your cat may mark territory, to show the new pet, areas that are off limits.  Off limit areas could be your cat’s bed or your bed where your cat always sleeps).  These are a few examples, there are many other things that may be upsetting to your cat.

  •  When making any changes in your home

Try to make the change gradual and in stages.  For example, if you are moving the litterbox to another room, move the litterbox a few feet every couple of days, until you get to the preferred spot.  Cats do better with gradual change.  At times, the cat may go back to the old spot to go to the bathroom, if this happens leave the litterbox in the new area, but get a second litterbox and place it in the old area and try to make the move gradually again.

  • New Addition to your home 

With a new person or pet coming into the house, the key again is gradual.  You may need to keep the cat confined away from the new person , new person’s belongings, and new pets for quite awhile until the cat gets use to the new addition.  Another type of addition is a new cat in the neighborhood.  Whether an outside cat or a cat that stays in (inside cats see new cats through windows, and still perceive them as a change to the environment, simply close curtains or doors to prevent your cat from seeing the new outside cat-see section above), your cat may be upset by this addition and mark territory.  Watch your cat to determine if this is the cause.

Introducing a new family member to your cat

Introducing a new cat to your Cat

Introducing your cat to a new dog

Preparing your cat for a new baby

 

  • Changing Litter 

Another upset or change in the home, could be simply a change in the type and brand of litter you use in the litterbox.  Some cats are very sensitive and do not take to change easily.  If it is a litter change, simply try changing back to the old type of litter or provide two or three litterboxes with different litter in each to determine which litter your cat likes.  Keep in mind the litterbox and litter are for your CAT not You.  Use what your cat prefers.

  • I live with three markers 

We have three cats that are markers in our home, Danny, Desilu and Felice.  My Mom believes that all three are caused by an upset or change.  For Danny, he started when Rachelle moved out of our house, you see, Danny was Rachelle’s cat.  He loved her from the first day he laid eyes on her.  Whenever, she is home, he is inseparable from her.  He was and continues to miss her.  In his situation, all we can do is to give him as much love and attention as we can (I try not to pounce on him, even though I really want to).  Unfortunately, Rachelle does not live in an apartment that allows pets. 

 Desilu and Felice are our other two sprayers.  They are picked on by the bigger boys and become anxious.  My Mom protects them from us boys, but the girls are anxious still because we can be sneaky. 

 So Danny, Desilu and Felice are confined to the cat room (yes, we have our own room, aren’t we lucky!!) .  They can not have the run of the house, unsupervised.  In the cat room, none of them spray or go outside of the litterbox.  They do go outside in our yard, where they are fenced trained (read our blog article 2 ways to keep your cats safe outside).  They are loved and handled every day (This is the most important thing in confinement).  At night, to de-stress them more and to allow all the cats in the cat room, so there is no territoriality, these three are confined in their own huge crate, with their own litterbox, water, food and bed. 

 My Mom has been doing this with them now for the past 5 years and it works for us perfectly.  Your solution may be different. 

 

 This is a good time to talk about desensitization for cats.  Some people talk about desensitization alot with dogs but it makes sense to talk about it with cats (as well as people, too).  The idea is to change how we, as a cat, feel about a particular thing – in other words to create a positive or tolerant feeling from a negative/stressful feeling. 

By desensitization, I mean that whatever a person, cat or dog is not use to, and that thing upsets that person, cat or dog, they are sensitive to it.  If the sensitive person, cat or dog has to deal with the thing that makes them upset at one time or another, the sensitive person, cat or dog becomes very stressed.  Therefore, to relieve stress and upset for the sensitive person, cat or dog, they need to become desensitized to the thing that is upsetting.  Whew, that was a mouthful!!

 To desensitize, you would have the sensitive person/pet be exposed to the upset, over and over again until the sensitive person/pet, no longer seems to be upset about it.  This must be done in a slow, gradual, safe, positive way to work.  An example would be, the cat/dog who hates to have their paws touched (or nails clipped).  You would, many times a day, find opportunities to touch the pets’ paws (while watching TV, while the cat lay in your lap), gently praising until the pet is relaxed and simply lets you touch their paws with no reaction.  This does not always work in EVERY sensitive situation, but does help the majority.  Again, I cannot stress enough that this must be done in a loving, non-stressful, non-scary positive way to work well.

 Here are a few things my Mom changes frequently.  We find it rather fun now.

  • Feeding times
  • Furniture moved in various rooms
  • Litterboxes moved here and there
  • Various animals coming and going
    • fostering animals
    • rehabilitating orphaned wildlife
    • visiting pets

 You just never know what she is going to do. 

  

 Cats can become frustrated and anxious for various reasons,

  • not enough exercise
  • no fresh air, no access to windows
  • always being picked on by others
  • no attention
  • stress in homes (arguments, spouses not getting along)
  • kids always running and yelling
  • not being able to get up high and look down (most cats like to feel safe up on things)
  • ABUSE – Abuse can be yelling, rough handling, scaring, over use of a reprimand (squirt bottle, shaker can, etc.) hitting (any physical harm), constant fear, keeping in a small cage constantly, neglect (not enough food, water, love or medical care), hoarding, etc.

ABUSE can be directed at the animal or anyone in the home.  As with a person (man, woman, or child), just witnessing and being in this highly volatile home environment, can make any animal highly stressed.

 ABUSE needs to cease immediately.  If you live in a home where the pet is being abused, the removal of the abused victim to an animal shelter would be the best choice. 

For everything else, try to find solutions for your cat’s frustrations/anxieties.  Pets need to communicate to us and sometimes cats must do drastic things, like going to the bathroom on the living room carpet, to get us to hear them.  Try playing with your cat more, make a point to give more attention or train your cat on a harness and leash and let him/her get some fresh air and sunshine. 

  •  Importance of Play

All cats should have a minimum of 15 minutes per day of playtime in a safe fun environment.  Video: My Cat from Hell, Jackson Galaxy, How to play with your cat

Especially, if your cat is

  • alone
  • obese
  • hides
  • young and lives with a senior cat

 I am opposed to cats that are let outside, unsupervised.  Many cats that are let outside face a variety of unpleasant and sometimes fatal experiences.  Outside unsupervised cats live on average, 2/3 LESS in years than cats that are kept inside.  According to animal welfare organizations, the average lifespan of a healthy cat kept inside can be 18-20 years.  An average lifespan of a cat that is allowed to roam freely outside unsupervised is 6 years.  BUT you say, your cat lived to be 10 outside!!! Your cat, my friend was incredibly lucky.  Some that are unlucky only live afew days or weeks….

 Outside cats:

  • are more susceptible to diseases (Rabies, FIP, Feline AIDS, and others),
  • cost more in medical bills,
  • have high risk of being hit by cars,
  • have people shooting at them,
  • have people/kids throwing rocks at them,
  • have people who poison them (neighbors)
  • have dogs chasing them,
  • have raccoons, fishers, coyotes and foxes chasing them and if hungry, killing them for food,
  • have kids getting them high on drugs (which usually kills )
  • use firecrackers on them (which disfigures, mames and kills)
  • have people steal them to train dogs for dog fighting or greyhound racing,
  • have people steal them for experimentation laboratories. 
  • And more gruesome things ca happen to them

Oh please, this is awful to think of cats like me going through all of that.

 Those are just a few things, my Mom has witnessed in her decades of being in the animal welfare field.  If you want your cat to go out, keep him/her safe, use a harness and leash, under your supervision. Check out the blog – 2 Ways to Keep Cats Safe Outside

If you love your cat, protect your cat, keep them safe inside (and safe under supervision outside).

 So, you have come to the conclusion, It is a Habit, now what?

 If your cat has been going to the bathroom around the house and continually not using the litterbox for quite a period of time, your cat may have formed a habit.  Breaking this habit can be frustrating and hard for the owner, but with persistence, can be accomplished or  Come up with a solution you and your cat can happily live with.

  •  First you must find all soiled locations in your home and clean thoroughly

 The first step is to thoroughly clean the house.  There must be no odors to lure the cat back to previous bathroom spots.  Carpet is the worst thing to ever have in a home if you have men, kids or pets (that’s what my Mom says).  Carpeting is impossible to ever keep 100% clean.  Have you ever pulled up a carpet and saw underneath?? Yuck!!

Carpeting is the worst if you have a pet accident because it soaks way down into the backing and wood and virtually never goes away.  Carpet is the worst floor covering, try large area rugs.  Area rugs can be cleaned easier and replaced, when needed.

 So, how do you find all the pet accidents…..  Black Light.  You need to find a really good black light; it will fluoresce any bodily fluid.  It is best done at night with NO lights on.  So, if any one has spilled milk, or the dog peed on the carpet or whatever, you will see it (it can be pretty shocking). 

Cats tend to spray walls about 8 inches or so up from the floor or in a corner or against the baseboard.  Look in closets, behind furniture, if large enough for a cat to go behind.  Cat urine has a distinct smell, especially if you have an unneutered cat or a cat who is dehydrated  (urine will be super concentrated and odiferous). 

 Ask your veterinarian for some products that can help in eliminating pet bathroom odors in carpets, upholstery, wood, etc.  A vinegar and water solution sometimes work well to mask odors but what you want is a product that will eliminate the odor all together.  DO NOT use Lysol products, they can be poisonous.  DO NOT use ammonia or ammonia-based products.  Ammonia is a constituent (an essential part) of urine.  By using ammonia, you will be spreading the odor around the house, making the house smell like one huge litterbox to us cats!! 

 My Mom uses a product called XO.  She likes it the best and she has tried many things.  XO is safe to use in your laundry, can be used on almost everything (test a small spot to be sure), furniture, curtains, bedding.  When you spray it, there is an odor (Mom thinks it smells like vomit, haha) but after about 15-20 minutes when it is dry, you should smell nothing. XO is safe enough to spray directly in the litterbox as well.  You can ask lots of people what they have found to work for them and get more ideas.  Buy XO on Amazon

  •  Once you find the areas and clean them, now what?
    •  Put a litterbox where they were going – If your cat is just using one spot in your home, if possible try placing a litterbox on that spot.  If your cat starts to use the litterbox in that spot, gradually move the litterbox back to where you want it. 
    • Prevent the cat from going to that area.  Section the area off, or close doors to rooms affected, so that the cat can’t go there. 
    • Use a non-toxic cat repellant or consistently startling the cat with a loud noise (such as a shaker can), as it nears the area, is sufficient. 
    • Change the significance of that area from a bathroom area to a feeding area.  Simply place food and water bowls in the spot.  Sometimes even a handful of treats every day in that area may work. 
    • Put catnip on the area after the area is thoroughly cleaned. 
    • Change the surface of the area may deter the cat from going to the bathroom there. 
      • For example, place heavy plastic over carpeting,
      • sink and bathtub surfaces can be kept covered with an inch of water,
      • Aluminum foil (most cats do not like the sound or feel) can be placed on couches,
      • plastic runners at Home Depot/Lowes with the knob side up (uncomfortable on most paws),
      • double sided tape 

 

  • If you find your cat is marking just one or two places

 My Mom uses the scariest thing ever.  It is a product called Stay Away .  It is a can of compressed air with a motion sensor.  If it detects motion, it beeps a warning, then WHOOOOSHH.  Scares the heck out of anyone!!! My Mom sets it off more than me!  She also uses this keep me from things that are enticing to me, like Christmas trees or special plants, etc.  A similar product is Ssscat.  Mom likes Stay Away better because it has a beep warning first and Ssscat does not.  After a while, you can just switch to the beep and your cat will get out quick.  No need to keep buying more cans of their compressed air.

 There is also a product called Scat Mat.  This is a mat that is plugged in and when a cat steps on it, they get a very mild shock. It doesn’t hurt but boy, a cat will be off in a flash.

  •   If your cat find plants a better litterbox

 Maybe your cat is liking dirt more than litter, if they are constantly going in your plants.  Try filling a litter box with half dirt and half litter.  If that works, over the next month or two, you can put less and less dirt.  Unfortunately, dirt is not easily scooped and does not help at all with odor.   To deter from plants, you can use:

  • Stay Away
  • Put Aluminum foil over the dirt,
  • Cut a piece of hardware cloth/fencing (holes about ¼ to ½ inch)  to fit in the pot. 
  • Put about a half inch of rocks. 

Unfortunately, if they have gone in the pot, it will smell, if it is warm enough, take the pot outside and really drench the soil.  Do this 3-4 times in hopes of getting every bit of urine and smell out of the pot.  Also, cat urine may be detrimental to your plants.

  •   If your cat is still marking

Confinement can be another solution.  Warning – if you do this, you MUST give daily attention

Confine the cat to a small area, such as an unused bedroom (if possible, remove bed or place mattress in a waterproof cover), a bathroom, or a kennel used for pets on airlines (kennel must be big enough for a litterbox, food, water and a bed).  Your cat is only let out of confinement under constant supervision for loving attention and exercise (you must not keep them in a kennel for more then 8-10 hours at night, more is not advisable).  By doing this, you are creating a smaller environment for the cat , thereby, cutting down on the areas he/she has to soil.  Plus, you are eliminating the choice for your cat to go to the preferred area in your house and go to the bathroom, thus interrupting the habit. 

Confinement will also teach the cat to start using the litterbox, thereby, breaking the habit of not using the litterbox and not perpetuating their habit of frequenting the areas they have soiled around the house.  Most pets do not like to go to the bathroom and then have to be near it.  When given the freedom of your home, they can go to the bathroom anywhere and then go somewhere else, not having to look at or be near what they have done.  By making the cat’s environment considerably smaller, you have given that pet less choice as to where they will go to the bathroom.  Most will start to use the litterbox the day that they are confined.  Do not think that your pet has broken the habit in one day.  Be patient, the habit took a while to form and will take time to rectify, probably months.  If they are getting more freedom after awhile and you notice a problem (you must be diligently looking), you must start over.

Your resentment lessens – Another good thing created by confining your cat is that your resentment goes down, thereby reducing the stress felt by your cat through you.  I am sure, after cleaning up your cat’s messes for awhile, you were feeling pretty badly towards your cat.  Some owners take their pets messes personally, in that they think their pet does not love them anymore.  Generally speaking, your cat still loves you, they have just formed a bad habit that needs to be corrected once you find out WHY they started in the first place.

Also, try a litter additive to the litterbox.  It will help your cat get back to being attracted to the litterbox for elimination. 

  •  You can try medications

My Mom has tried a few medications along with Prozac.  Yes, they have Prozac for kitties.  The medications do work for a while but in our cases, the affects did wear off after a year.  Even though the Prozac worked and did eventually wear off, my Mom really did not like how it made Desilu and Felice act.  Even on the lowest does of 1/8 of a tablet, Desilu would go out in our yard and just zone out.  She never played anymore, she just slept.  It was not that bad for Felice, but if you knew her, she is very busy and curious.  On the Prozac, she just kind of walked around, not really happy.

However, many cats do pretty good. My Mom says we have a few clients who have cats on Prozac and it is working well for them.  If you are really frustrated with the problem and you can not figure out why your cat is soiling around the house and you have tried everything to change the environment to keep your cat feeling safe, loved, getting plenty of good quality love attention and play.  Maybe Prozac is a good choice for you.

So, let’s recap –

  • Make sure they are healthy
  • Remember to Examine the WHY
    • Check litterbox size, clean, location, litter
    • Is your cat anxious, scared, worried
    • Does anyone yell at them, abuse them
    • Do children yell or run at them, scare them
    • Do dogs bark and harass them
    • anything changed in the house (new, missing)

 And the most important issues

  • Are you giving them enough attention
  • Are you giving them fun play time every day
  • Do you have fun stimulating Toys
  • Do you have areas where your cat is allowed up high (see My Cat From Hell to find out why this is important)
  • Do you brush or pet your cat daily, this de-stresses them AND you
  • Does your cat feel loved by the entire family – just like you, they want to be loved and belong

 Attention and playtime are the two things that will help in many situations.  

  Most cats LOVE the feather on a stick toy.  I know I do!!

 

  • What I would NOT suggest doing

Whether you think your cat is doing this because they are unhappy with you (this is definitely not the reason if you are providing a safe, loving home) or you just do not want to take the time to fix the problem.  The above three things are NOT the solution.  There are so many things that could happen as I stated before – starvation, hit by a car, tortured, poisoned, attacked by other animals,  and more. 

If you no longer want to care for your cat, please bring them to a shelter.  Make sure you explain, what is going on, so that they can find the right home to help your cat.  NEVER withhold any information.  Worse case scenario, your cat will be humanely euthanized. Euthanasia sounds awful but it is much better then being hurt by someone and dieing slow and alone…..

  A great show to watch and get a lot of great ideas from, is Animal Planet’s “My Cat From Hell”  The cat behaviorist is Jackson Galaxy and he is quite informative.  He has many shows that deal with urination and aggressive problems.  My Mom has learned a few great ideas from this show.  Jackson has also authored a few books, you may want to check them out.  I LOVE watching all the cats on TV and when they talk, I listen!!

 As with people, it will take time with your cat, there maybe relapses but most pets will try to do the right thing.  They really do want our love, affection and approval.  So, please try to understand your pet, read these suggested reasons and solutions a few times, be patient, be consistent, and above all, love your pet.  They are counting on you.

Signing off until next time,

Gus Bennett

 

 

About the Owner/Author

Dorinne Whynott, is a long time animal professional.  She is a successful business owner establishing one of the largest pet sitting companies in New Hampshire since 1990. Click to Read her complete History. 

Professional Pet Sitting Etc. is a leading business in the pet care field and continues to grow since 1990.  It boasts 30+ amazing pet sitters on staff, over 3000 clients in 38 cities from Nashua to Concord, NH.  Hundreds of satisfied client testimonials can be found on their website and more 5 star reviews on their Facebook pageGoogle+ page and more.  They have sustained an A+ rating with the BBB and are unmatched in the Pet Sitting Industry in New Hampshire.

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